What book should you read next? What words should you write next? Whether you're a reader, a writer, or both, you need look no further for ideas and pointers to help you make up your mind. You might even get your next book for free--and signed by the author!

Sometimes I even give away my own novels. My Inspirational romances and devotionals are pictured below and are detailed on my Books page. You can always count on a trace of humor in my novels and nonfiction. Whether you're a teen or a woman mature in years, I think these stories will ring true.

Read on, and discover some of today's most appealing Christian novelists, their latest books, and their words of wisdom and imagination. Enjoy!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Ann Gabhart and Free Books!

When murder comes to call at a stately Victorian house, the town of Hidden Springs looks to Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane to solve the crime before anyone else dies.

Before we meet today's featured author, I want to announce that the winner of the free signed copy of With Love, Wherever You Are, by Dandi Mackall, is:


Congratulations! I'll email you to get your snail mail address, and we'll get your book right out to you. I encourage readers to keep commenting and/or subscribe at right (above my list of books) in order to participate in future book give-aways! Subscribers are entered a second time when they comment.

And now let's visit novelist Ann Gabhart, author of the cozy mystery, Murder Is No Accident (Revell Books, March 2017).

Ann H. Gabhart is the bestselling author of many novels, including Angel Sister, Small Town Girl, and Love Comes Home, the 2015 Selah Book of Year winner. She’s also known for her Shaker novels and Heart of Hollyhill books.

Now, as A.H. Gabhart, she is writing the Hidden Springs Mysteries set in a small town much like the Kentucky town where she grew up.

Ann and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren and still enjoy country life on a farm near that small town. Ann likes to take walks with her dog, Oscar, to mull over new story ideas.

Please tell us one random thing we might not know about you.

I have nine wonderful grandchildren who like going on walking adventures with me out here on our farm, especially if I let them go hunt rocks and crawdads while wading in a nearby creek. The kids and I have carried enough fossil or shiny rocks to the house to start a rock garden. They leave the crawdads in the creek. Except once. Poor crawdad didn’t live long in spite of my grandson carrying him home in creek water.

Aw, no pet crawdad. 

Please tell us a bit more about the plot of Murder is No Accident.

The old Chandler place should be empty. The magnificent Victorian mansion is for sale, even if its elderly owner Miss Fonda doesn’t realize it. But when real estate agent Geraldine Harper enters the house on a sunny October day, she’s not alone. Minutes later, there is a body at the bottom of the steep steps leading to the tower room.

Deputy sheriff Michael Keane is called in. At first blush, it looks like the death was a tragic accident, but clues point to foul play. And when a second body is discovered, the race is on to find the culprit . . . before someone else dies.

If you like your small-town America sweet and quirky—with a dash of sinister—this is the whodunit book for you.

What is it about Michael that will make your readers care about him?

Michael has old-fashioned values but with modern tolerance for different lifestyles. He wants peace in his private life and hopes for happiness. He likes the freedom of not being the “boss” in the sheriff’s office and wonders at his lack of ambition. He’s sort of coasting along waiting for whatever happens next. He is easy-going, but when faced with a crisis knows how to take action. He loves his little town of Hidden Springs. It is part of his heritage since his ancestor founded the town. He has an Aunt Lindy who insists he must keep the Keane family going in Hidden Springs.

He’d like to be married with kids, but he’s in love with a woman he can’t imagine settling down with him in a small town like Hidden Springs while he can’t imagine living in the big city with her. Readers want to know how that may eventually turn out.

If you were the casting director for the film version of your novel, who would play your lead roles?

This is always a difficult type of question for me since I don’t watch much television or see many movies. I much prefer reading and imagining the heroes and heroines. But since you asked, I tried to match up my characters with an actor and actress via the internet.

 photo simon-baker-4124009vjcdq_1370_400x400_zpsbytz2t18.jpgI picked Simon Baker for Michael Keane

 photo 061815-ksenia-solo-2_zpsytr0mt5s.jpgand Ksenia Solo for Alexandria Sheridan.

Emily Dickinson said this about writing: “A wounded deer leaps the highest.” How do you interpret that, and do you agree?

I suppose she’s saying the best writing comes from great intensity of feeling and pain. When death is near, the deer has one last leap for life. Perhaps that is meaningful to other writers, but I think I’m too practical to go down that road. It’s good to feel your stories with all your creative might, to be with your characters through every struggle and joy, but then once that story is written, I’m ready to live on and write a new story.

What is the last novel you read that you would recommend?

So many books I could recommend, but a recent novel I read was The Dog That Talked to God by Jim Kraus. I’m a dog lover so when the title caught my eye, I decided to give the book a try.

The first person story is written from the viewpoint of a woman who struggles with her faith after a tragedy in her family. I found her story compelling and the dog talking to her fun. This book was an easy, entertaining read but with a strong message regarding faith.

What are you working on now?

I have gone back to my historical novel roots and have a book coming up next that is set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1940’s. The novel, These Healing Hills, will be about a nurse midwife with the Frontier Nursing Service and is scheduled for a September release. Then I’m working on another historical idea about what happens in a small Kentucky town after a cholera epidemic.

How fun to be branching out so much!

Where else can readers find you online?

My website, www.annhgabhart.com, has information about all my books and some about me too. You can also find both my blogs, One Writer’s Journal and Heart of Hollyhill, there as well. I enjoy getting to know my readers on my Facebook author page.

I do occasionally tweet out this or that on Twitter with a user name of AnnHGabhart and I’m always adding pictures on Pinterest about stories I’m researching or simply pictures I like. Again just look for AnnHGabhart. You can access all these social media places from my website.

The book can be purchased online via the following button:

72710X: Murder Is No Accident #3

Finally, what question would you like to ask my readers?

What do you think makes a cozy mystery cozy? And do you like romance mixed with your mysteries?

Thanks, Ann, for telling us about your novel. Readers, Ann has offered to give a signed copy of her book to the winner of our drawing on Monday, March 27. To enter, leave a comment below in answer to Ann's question, above. "Please enter me" won't get you entered. The drawing is done by email, so leave your email address, like so: trish[at]trishperry[dot]com. 

Also, I'd love it if you'd connect with me on Facebook. Just click on my name at the right of today's post.

Annoying legal disclaimer: drawings void where prohibited; open only to U.S. residents; the odds of winning depend upon the number of participants. See full disclaimer, as well as my Disclosure of Material Connection HERE


Sally Shupe said...

Great interview post! I loved hunting for crawdads. Would love to win a copy of your book! A cozy mystery to me is a mystery set in a small town in a who-dun-it style. And yes, I like a little romance thrown in. That makes it fun!
sallyshupe1 at gmail dot com

Pam Graber said...

When I think of "cozy mystery" I think "amateur sleuth like Jessica Fletcher in Murder, She Wrote". Small town, everybody knows him/her - and likes them. They work with the police but aren't necessarily officers of the law. I haven't read any of Ms. Gabhart's mysteries but would love to start with this one.

lyttlebit555 said...

I love small town books. Love the romance part, it's like reading two stories! Mysteries always keep you wanting to read more! I love Ann Gabharts books!


Ann H. Gabhart said...

Hi, Sally. I was always a timid crawdad hunter. I was always sure they were going to pinch my fingers off or something. My grandson is much braver, but I've got a few granddaughters that worry about their fingers the way I did. :) My mystery has that small town flavor and that touch of romance. Hope you get a chance to visit Hidden Springs.

Ann H. Gabhart said...

It would be great for you to take a trip to Hidden Springs and give one of my books a try, Pam. If you're an e-reader, you can download the first Hidden Springs mystery, Murder at the Courthouse, for free right now and the second book, Murder Comes by Mail, is at a great reduced price. You're on the money about those cozy mysteries too. Some of mine break a few cozy rules but hang in there with most of them.

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Hi, Lyttlebit.

Thanks so much for reading my books. It's always fun to hear someone has read and enjoyed one of my stories. I'm like you. I like my mystery mixed with a little romance or history. That makes the story better for me.

Ola Norman said...

A cozy mystery isn't as graphic in details and yes, I like a little romance in them.
Onorman (at) Wilkes (dot) net

loretta said...

Good interview with Ann. I've enjoyed the first two books of this series so I definitely want to read this one. Hoping I can win a copy.


evenstar888 at aol dot com

Donamae Kutska said...

Small town books are so interesting! Great interview.

Dianne Casey said...

I love cozy mysteries! I like the inusual settings and the relatable characters and their pets. They usually have a great storyline with some twists and turns and a little bit of romance.
Would like to read "Murder is No Accident".

Gail H. said...

Romance is always welcome in any book including mysteries. The Dog Who Was There is in my TBR pile.

Library Lady said...

A cozy mystery to me is murder and mayhem without the gore, violence, and most of all the bad language.
Romance and mystery are alright with me as long as it is more mystery than romance.
Janet E.

Cathy said...

Cozy mystery to me is small town setting with somewhat of a Jessica Fletcher tone to it. I have read and enjoyed a number of Ann's books with Angel Sister being one of my favorites. Enjoyed the interview! Thanks! dixiedobie at yahoo dot com

Loraine Nunley said...

I think that a cozy mystery is one where the main "detective" is someone who doesn't do that kind of work for a living. They're an amateur. I absolutely love having romance intertwined in a cozy mystery. Thanks for the interview and the giveaway! momrain(AT)aol(DOT)com

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Thanks, Ola, for stopping by to read my review. So glad you've enjoyed my cozy mysteries and like that touch of romance.

Loretta, I do appreciate you reading my mysteries.

Donamae - I like small town stories too. Guess that's why I write them. Plus, I've always lived out here in the country near one of those small towns.

Diane - I like cozies for the same reason you do. The setting, although I don't think Hidden Springs is unusual, and the pets. That cat on every cover of my Hidden Springs mysteries really help identify the stories as cozy mysteries.

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Janet, you are so right about what a cozy should not have. In most cozies the murder takes place off page so that the reader can avoid that mayhem. I personally like my romance mixed with mystery or history, but it is best to let the mystery be the main thrust of the story.

Cathy, thanks for stopping by and reading the interview. Thanks even more for reading my books. Angel Sister is a favorite of mine too because of the way my mother's memories are threaded through the story in the setting and a little in the characters although the story is fiction. The Murder She Wrote stories were definitely cozy mysteries.

Loraine, you're right about most cozies having an amateur sleuth, but I broke that rule with my cozies since my main character is a deputy sheriff in the sleepy town of Hidden Springs. At least it was sleeping before murder kept coming to call. I liked letting Michael have some romantic problems.

Trish Perry said...

For me, cozy mysteries promise something charming, whether it's the classy-ness or the endearing foibles of the amateur sleuth. That lead character is so important to driving the cozy, IMO. And I always like a bit of romance in the story, but (as a woman of a certain age), I don't necessarily expect it if the sleuth is from my generation. I look for that more when the lead character is younger--I get to be age-ist at my age.

Ann H. Gabhart said...

Fun comment, Trish, and on the money. My cozies broke a few of the cozy mystery rules with Michael being a man and a deputy sheriff. I wrote the stories before I read the rules. :) Most of the time the amateur sleuth is a woman and sometimes, as you say, a woman of a certain age. But Michael is young and still hoping to convince the woman he loves to marry him. So there is a thread of romance through all three of my Hidden Springs mysteries, but more in this recent one, Murder Is No Accident.

Thank you so much for having me over. It's been a fun visit.

Connie Lee said...

You think as cozy as something being comfortable and warm. I like to read cozy mysteries that leave you feeling that way about the book. It is always interesting to mix a little romance in, pets, and down to earth people. lclee59(at)centurylink(dot)net

Kelly Blackwell said...

I grew up near a river bottom by a cliff and we often searched for crawdads. I have to admit I never actually ate one. Even many years later when I lived in Maine and worked at a seafood diner which had a massive buffet complete with every kind of seafood including crayfish (no one called them crawdads)...I still stayed away.

Anyway as for the question. I think a good cozy keeps me guessing and introduces me to people I would love to have as friends. I'll be honest, I don't really care for romance in my cozies unless it is quite secondary to the story. Like something underlying that will brew slowly over the length of a series. Nothing quick.

Thanks for sharing!




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